I grew up making things, but my first career aspiration, when I was five, had to do with the tools one needs. I wanted to be a scissors sharpener because I objected to the many dull scissors in the world and thought this ought to be fixed. When we lived in Germany for four years, I became ‘painfully’ aware of beauty and wanted to be a toy-maker. From nine to twelve, I aimed to be an ornithologist––because of the fragility, vulnerability and beauty of birds. So, I made many bird feeders using a maddening assortment of dull tools. Next, I aspired to be a cartoonist. Most of Algebra class I spent drawing, but for integrity’s sake, I drew mostly math cartoons. I nearly failed seventh and eight-grade shop classes. When I was fifteen, I opened a bicycle repair shop in our small Illinois town. I fixed bikes and earned money. I spent almost all of it on wood-sculpting tools: I dreamt of being an artist. I wanted to make things and to know and pursue beauty.I made my first wooden spoon, with the terrible tools, when I was fourteen, but with good tools I began a self-imposed apprenticeship in crafting spoons. At eighteen, living in Asheville, North Carolina, I was admitted––partly on the beauty in several spoons––to the juried-membership of the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild and studied at the University of North Carolina there in Asheville. I was drawn into love with the mountains and trees and, most of all, with the Artist who made them. I began to see the whole world as God’s Gallery, battered and broken, but still stuffed with beauty, goodness and glory.
After college, I served as a campus minister with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at Bryn Mawr, Haverford and Swarthmore Colleges and attended Westminster Seminary. Now I do four deeply connected part-time jobs. I work as a wood sculptor. I pastor Chestnut Church in Christiana, PA. I renovate old houses. And Gwen and I mentor art students on college campuses and in our 200-year-old Chester County home which was built as an inn. Gwen and I were married in 1986. She is a ballet dancer, choreographer and small business owner. We have four grown children and three grandchildren.
“Here is an artist who shapes raw material to convey a point, conscious of himself yet not broadcasting self-consciousness. Here is beauty on display, form and function in equal measure. Here is an artist guilelessly giving content and truth to his viewers, with credibility and respect––it’s a novel gesture anymore! I came away with the feeling that I had brushed up against something of immeasurable value and left its company too soon. Bone of My Bones is as genuine an expression of rapport as ever I've seen in a gallery. Keenan Rew, Artist